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Hafizullah’s Story: One Year Later

Last year, we brought you the story of Hafizullah, who came to the UK as a refugee from Afghanistan after the collapse of the Western-backed government there. We helped Hafizullah get set up and find work and so we wanted to catch up with him a year down the line and bring you the latest chapter in his story...

Ysgrifennwyd gan Will

27 Ion, 2023

A man and a woman sitting next to each other in an office

Last year, we brought you the story of a Melin resident with an incredible backstory. Hafizullah Ashatree came to Wales as a refugee after the collapse of the Western backed government in Afghanistan. In partnership with Monmouthsire County Council and the government’s resettlement scheme for Afghan refugees, Hafizullah and his wife were housed with Melin. Shortly after, we helped Hafizullah to get into work, by helping him secure a job as a gatekeeper with Lovell. He soon started work at our Elderwood Parc (Crick Road) development in Monmouthshire where he has been working for almost a year.

With the coming of new year, we wanted to catch up with Hafizullah to see how things were going both at work and at home. Speaking with his trademark enthusiasm and an infectious smile, he shared the story of how he and his family had settled into his new life in the UK…

“The last year has gone very well, I have learned a lot of things and everyone here [at the site] is very friendly. It was my first experience working outside my country and it was very different, but it has been nice to meet so many people and have the stability of a job.”

“The last year has gone very well, I have learned a lot of things and everyone here [at the site] is very friendly. It was my first experience working outside my country and it was very different, but it has been nice to meet so many people and have the stability of a job.”

Hafizullah Ashatree — Melin Resident

Hafizullah took to his new role like a duck to water and settled in straight away. Now, to his colleagues, Hafizullah is known as ‘Ash’ after his surname. This came about after some of his workmates struggled with his name: “Some people found my name a bit difficult to pronounce and since there’s no short form of it we took Ash from the start of my surname and now everyone here calls me Ash, I don’t mind it!”

The last year has not only seen Hafizullah adapt to his new life and new job, but it has also seen him and his wife welcome a new addition to the family: a baby daughter. Hafizullah said: “My wife was pregnant when we came to the UK and she was very nervous about having the baby but now she has arrived we are both so happy. My iPhone is full of videos and photos of my daughter! She is growing so fast we love sending photos of her to our family overseas.”

Not only has this little bundle of joy brought happiness to the Ashatree family, but she has also helped Hafizullah’s wife to adapt to life in the UK. Attending mother and baby groups has helped her develop her English language skills and widen her social circle: “She has made a lot of friends and is really enjoying it. Even though she is still learning English, she uses Google Translate and it’s not a problem.”

Looking to the future, some exciting potential opportunities await Hafizullah with Lovell. Thanks to support from the Melin Employment Team, Hafizullah is currently taking driving lessons with the aim of getting his licence which would allow him to take a promotion at work. Hafizullah said: “Life in the UK without a car is difficult so I wanted to get my licence.

“Right now I am doing my practical driving lessons so I can get my licence and this will hopefully let me progress further with Lovell. My manager has seen that I have lots of experience with administration and so once I have my licence I hope to move into a new role with the company and with a car I could work further away, maybe in Cardiff or Bristol.”

British driving is a totally new experience for Hafizullah, but he’s taking it all in his stride: “I start from zero experience of driving a car. Learning to drive in the city with all the lights and roundabouts is a lot to get used to but I enjoy it. Hopefully it won’t be long until I can take my test.”

Paula Skyrme, Melin’s Employment Team Leader is thrilled by how Hafizullah has settled into his new life over the last year. She said: “Hafizullah has seized his opportunity with both hands and it has been great to see him grow in confidence during his time with Lovell.

“He’s great worker and has built a great reputation at Lovell which has been fantastic to see. I’m thrilled to hear that he has the opportunity to progress with the company and I have no doubt that Hafizullah will do well in the future.”

Paula Skyrme — Melin's Employment Team Leader

For now, with a new baby to look after, Hafizullah is taking things one step at a time. He is determined to take the next step in his career and his reasons for wanting to do well are never far from his mind: “Earning money is very important to me as not only do I have my wife and daughter to support, but my family back in Afghanistan are in a very difficult winter. It is so important that I can support us all and do well in my job to do that.”

We are certain that Hafizullah will continue to do just that and it has been a pleasure to work with him and see his new life in Wales get off to a good start. We wish him and his family all the best for the future and look forward to hearing that he has passed his driving test!

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